Construction Infrastructure Innovation & Skills Hub
The Committee were provided with a presentation from the Senior Economic Development Officer on the Construction Infrastructure Innovation & Skills Hub. The Senior Economic Development Officer guided Members through the presentation in detail highlighting key points to note.
The presentation has been published and could be accessed through the main agenda at item 5:
- (Public Pack)Agenda Document for Strategic Environment Cabinet Committee, 22/11/2022 19:30 (gravesham.gov.uk)
The Senior Economic Development Officer agreed to circulate a short video to Members via email after the meeting; the video contained information on the OHOB Training Academy Open Day.
Following the presentation, Members had their questions answered by the Senior Economic Development Officer:
- The intention was to have a physical hub in the Town Centre which would be funded by several opportunities available to Gravesham such as working with Lower Thames Crossing (LTC) and the tier one contractors that were bidding for projects worth significant amounts of money. The Council would be involved in acquiring funding and an operator for the business and would then provide support to the hub to make sure it became successful and upskilled Gravesham’s workforce. The Senior Economic Development Officer was also in discussions with the local Colleges, private training providers, London Resort, and the Government
- Before any work could begin on the hub, the Senior Economic Development Officer needed to acquire funding for the feasibility study of the hub
- There weren’t any Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) training providers in Gravesham; the nearest CITB providers were in Erith and Central London; however, the Senior Economic Development Manager had been having discussions with a CITB provider, through planning obligations, concerning a construction academy and they were interested in several proposals
- There had been an indication from the LTC that the Council would be able to approach them for money for the feasibility study; the LTC published a Skills, Education & Employment Strategy which made commitments to increase employment and raise skills in the local area as well as drive economic growth. These commitments would be delivered, primarily through contractual requirements imposed on Tier 1 contractors and their supply
- The LTC had also put money into pre-employment courses delivered by organisations including Runway Training and the Construction Youth Trust which supports the work of the Skills, Education and Employment Advisor directly-employed by LTC and has been into local schools to discuss different careers available to the school children. Work had also been carried out with Job Centre Plus to get people into viable working roles.
In response to a Members question, the Principal Transport and NSIP Project Manager advised that construction for the LTC was likely due to start in 2024/25; Members were also advised that there were a number of jobs that there were a shortage off, but not typically thought of, such as archaeologists and they would be needed during construction of the LTC.
The Committee discussed the difficulties of upskilling the workforce and reinforced the need for a suitable CITB training provider to be encouraged to set up a base in Gravesend. Member suggested the use of the Victoria Centre and the old court building.
The Chair informed the Senor Economic Development Officer that whatever approach was taken with the Hub and the process behind it needed to be guided by Members.
The Chair thanked the Senior Economic Development Officer for a detailed presentation.